The income tax department is likely to increase the use of phone tapping in its crackdown on black money. The measure is currently used sparingly, but taxmen say call records can be used as proof for taking action against tax evaders.
“Call records are legal proof which cannot be refuted. This is an exercise adopted on a case to case basis where the department is unable to catch enough proofs,” a senior tax official said.
According to law, the tax department is required to take permission from the ministry of home affairs to tap phones, which the official said is usually forthcoming.
Ending black money was one of the planks on which the Narendra Modi led-NDA had fought Parliamentary elections two years ago, and the government has initiated several measures to curb the so-called parallel economy.
PMO EYES WINDOW
The next initiative, a limited period window for declaring hidden domestic income and wealth, and pay tax and penalty on it, opens on June 1.
According to a senior income tax official, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will monitor all the declarations and the measures that will be a part of the one-time compliance window.
PMO has told the revenue department to submit regular updates of declarations, of the queries that people and chartered accountants are raising, and also the measures that the department was taking to spread awareness of the scheme and expand its reach.
“The tax department will collect information from all chief commissioners across India and submit these reports on a regular basis to PMO,” the official said.
“PMO wants the scheme to both government-friendly as well as taxpayer friendly,” the official said. “It feels that if the scheme is taxpayer friendly, it would yield more undisclosed income, which will be in-turn beneficial for the government.”
This will be the second such compliance scheme under the NDA government.
Last year, the government had given citizens a similar opportunity to declare illicit funds in overseas accounts, and assets worth Rs 4,000 crore were disclosed in that period.
According to a FICCI report, about a third of India’s black money transactions are believed to be in real estate, followed by manufacturing, and purchase of jewellery and consumer goods.